15 minutes training enough to save lives with an automated external defibrillator

January 30, 2005

Just fifteen minutes of training could make it possible for anyone to use a defibrillator to stop sudden cardiac arrest. A study published today in the journal Critical Care shows that a brief training session is all that is needed for safe and efficient use of an automated external defibrillator.

Sudden cardiac deaths affect nearly 400,000 people per year in Europe, and every day in the U.S. more than 1,200 people die from cardiac arrest before they reach hospital. In most cases, sudden cardiac arrest is due to ventricular fibrillation, a rapid, irregular twitching of the ventricles of the heart, which can be stopped by applying a defibrillator and delivering an electric shock within 1 minute of its onset. Automated external defibrillators are becoming increasingly common in airplanes, airports, companies, schools and other public places.

Stefan Beckers and colleagues from the University Hospital in Aachen, Germany, asked over two hundred first year medical students with no prior experience to use a defibrillator on a mannequin on two occasions, with a one-week interval between the sessions. Before the second session, the students attended a 15-minute talk on the purpose of the defibrillator, why it has to be used within the first minute of the arrest, and the importance of correct electrode pad positioning. Their response times were monitored during both sessions.

The study shows that 85.6% of the students could position the electrode pads correctly the first time that they tried. During the second session, the proportion increased to 92.8%. The time taken to apply the shock was 85 seconds during the first session, and decreased dramatically to around 59 seconds during the second.

The authors conclude that untrained laypersons are able to use automated external defibrillators quickly and safely. Their performance significantly improves after basic theoretical explanation of the device.

The reaction of untrained individuals to real emergency situations requiring the use of a defibrillator is likely to be different from their performance in simulated situations.

But the authors believe that their results are significant and should encourage basic training to prevent unnecessary sudden cardiac deaths. They add, "enhancing [...] public information, for example via television campaigns or other extensive publicly available media, is of great importance."

This article is accompanied by a commentary.
-end-
This press release is based on the following article:

Minimal instructions improve performance of laypersons in semiautomatic and automatic external defibrillators

Stefan Beckers, Michael Fries, Johannes Bickenbach,
Matthias Derwall, Ralf Kuhlen, Rolf Rossaint
Critical Care 2005, 9:R110-R116

BioMed Central

Related Cardiac Arrest Articles from Brightsurf:

Outcomes for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest during COVID-19 pandemic
This study used a large US registry of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests to asses the association between the COVID-19 pandemic and the outcomes of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests, including in areas with low and moderate COVID-19 disease.

Cardiac arrest is common in critically ill patients with COVID-19
Cardiac arrest is common in critically ill patients with covid-19 and is associated with poor survival, particularly among patients aged 80 or older, finds a study published by The BMJ today.

In-hospital cardiac arrest in COVID-19
Outcomes of in-hospital cardiac arrest among patients with COVID-19 are examined in this case series.

New risk tool developed for cardiac arrest patients
Experts have developed a risk score to predict cardiac arrest patient outcomes.

Intravenous sodium nitrite ineffective for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest
Among patients who had an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, intravenous sodium nitrite given by paramedics during resuscitation did not significantly improve their chances of being admitted to or discharged from the hospital alive, according to research presented at the American College of Cardiology's Annual Scientific Session Together with World Congress of Cardiology (ACC.20/WCC).

Getting to the heart of epinephrine use in pediatric cardiac arrest patients
The effectiveness of epinephrine treatment during resuscitation of adult patients with cardiac arrest is generally promising, but little is known about its effects in pediatric patients.

Bystanders can help more cardiac arrest victims survive
Only 8% of Americans survive cardiac arrest outside a hospital, but that percentage could increase significantly if bystanders recognize cardiac arrest and perform simple lifesaving tasks, a UVA Health physician says in a New England Journal of Medicine article.

Opioid-related cardiac arrest patients differ from other cardiac arrests
People who suffer cardiac arrest due to an opioid overdose are younger, have fewer chronic medical conditions and may be more likely to be to receive bystander CPR, according to a review of emergency response records in Maine.

Selective coronary angiography following cardiac arrest
In the current issue of Cardiovascular Innovations and Applications volume 4, issue 2, pp.

Sudden cardiac arrest in athletes: Prevention and management
It's marathon season, and every so often a news report will focus on an athlete who has collapsed from sudden cardiac arrest.

Read More: Cardiac Arrest News and Cardiac Arrest Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.